Traditional Cremonese Violin-Maker Marco Coppiardi Announces Key Role in Developing M.I.T. Media Lab's "Chameleon Guitar"

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Coppiardi Lent Instrument-Making Skills and an Ear for Sound to the Guitar's Construction and Design; One "Chameleon" Can Produce Acoustics Mimicking a Variety of Instruments

As a violin-maker, I have the unique capability to infuse art and tradition into this cutting-edge technology project

Marco Coppiardi, the only U.S. violin maker working exclusively with the materials and techniques used by the violin-making masters of 16th-century Cremona, Italy, announced today his key role in developing the Chameleon Guitar, released on February 3, 2009 by the M.I.T. Media Lab.

The Chameleon Guitar, created by M.I.T. Media Lab masters student Amit Zoran, is an electric guitar designed to mimic the sound of several different instruments. Thanks to a removable, wooden soundboard in its center, this single guitar can produce acoustics identical to any number of guitar types, from classical to solid-body.

An expert on instrument craftsmanship and sound, Coppiardi assisted Zoran with the guitar's design and construction. First, he selected wood that provided an appropriate acoustic response. Next, using his discerning, highly-trained ear, Coppiardi -- who specializes in producing exact acoustic and visual replicas of Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati instruments -- worked with Zoran to distinguish between the various sounds he wished to produce and determine the size and characteristics of each soundboard. He then built the guitars in his Newbury Street studio.

"As a violin-maker, I have the unique capability to infuse art and tradition into this cutting-edge technology project," said Coppiardi. "Combining Amit Zoran's software engineering and industrial design skills with my knowledge of craftsmanship, music and sound, we were able to create a brand new product, a beautiful guitar with no acoustic chamber that can sound like it has one and that can change sound characteristics as simply as a chameleon changes color. The so-called Chameleon Guitar is also compact, and ultimately, its design and even size can be customized to individual musicians' taste without compromising its quintessential sound capabilities."

Coppiardi has been working with Amit Zoran and the M.I.T. Media Lab on the Chameleon Guitar since February 2008. Among the wood that has been used: spruce from a 150-year old bridge in Vermont.

About Marco Coppiardi:
Marco Coppiardi, the only U.S. violin maker working exclusively in the Cremonese tradition, is a native of Cremona, Italy, where he trained at the acclaimed International School of Violin. He is the recipient of a "Best Craftsmanship" award from the Violin Society of America, and has crafted a viola for Prince Naruhito of Japan. A former apprentice to Vahakny Nigogosian of the Rembert Wurlitzer workshop, Coppiardi has lived in the United States since 1992.

About Italiastrings:
Italiastrings, Marco Coppiardi's studio, was founded in 2003. It is located at 280 Newbury Street, Boston, MA, 02116.

Sharon Bially
sharonbially (at)


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